Making Ideas Happen

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Edison.

99U Local Melbourne

99U Local Melbourne

September may be over, but the insights and ideas gathered will be ongoing inspiration for people interested in making ideas happen.

For the first time (which is always a wonderful phrase to write), Behance brings the world 99U Local. “It’s not a conference. It’s a casual, intimate, local 99U-style experience in your city” they write on their site. The event was sponsored by The Centre for Workplace Leadership and The University of Melbourne.

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is the idea behind the 99U events.

For one week in September, select cities around the world host a one night event consisting of three curated talks that “share road-tested insights on making ideas happen…” I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the 99U Local Melbourne event, with curated talks and tips for making ideas happen from local experts:

Gavin Aung Than, Cartoonist, Creator of Zen Pencils @zenpencils

Be the first (like, making cartoons from quotes); be consistent (do something that means you won’t get bored); be honest (share a bit of yourself, make yourself human).

Amantha Imber, Innovation Psychologist, Founder of Inventium @amantha

Share generously (and a bit of yourself); be clear on your values (and make decisions against these); don’t over think things (“analysis paralysis”); never make big decisions after lunch.

Dr Jason Fox, Author, 99U Ambassador @drjasonfox

Doubt makes ideas stronger; doubt makes leaders better; doubt makes life more wonderful. Plus some tips to leverage doubt: build a meta-morning ritual; cast projects into the future; choose one word to live by for your year (i.e. Jason’s is Pirate).

As with most intimate events focused on ideas, there was quite a lively Q&A afterwards around schools and creativity, getting people comfortable with ambiguity, where to find inspiration and ideas, how to get clear on your values, the connection between doubt and intellect…

My tip is to start by getting out and about… go to events about ideas, network, observe, talk, share… it’s a big world out there and there’s plenty to discover.

Expressing Your Experiences

The creative imagination needs to be unleashed from constraints if you want to explore, discover and share new insights and ideas… and bring them to life. Whether it’s within the confinement of a cubicle, office, boardroom, studio… or whatever den you work in… nothing beats getting ‘out there’ to experience and express yourself freely. Freedom started with pencils on sketchpads but can go beyond that into collaborations in public spaces, sharing insightful experiences for others to learn from and enjoy.

Wendy MacNaughton is an illustrator based in San Francisco who’s just created an illustrated inventory of her observations, insights and takeaways from Behance’s annual 99% Conference at a space in the Ace Hotel in New York City. The conference is about “making ideas happen” and is inspired by the Thomas Edison quote “Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration”. You can experience the full story expressed through words and illustrations on Behance’s site. The whole process took 9 days: 2 days to draw/document, 2 days to paint/scan, 3 days to install and 2 days to make the story. Wendy also included quotes, tweets and eavesdropping from the conference speakers and attendees.

A conference that helps people “make ideas happen” is one thing (of great value to the creative thinkers) but taking a traditional conference format and turning it into a shared creative expression is another. And doing it in an enjoyable, memorable way, within one of the coolest hotels in New York City… enough said. These guys are truly living their vision to make ideas happen.

The Power of Creative Communities

The new age is about connection. Whether it’s connecting people to each other, businesses to businesses, businesses to people…  that’s where the real value is created. Like-minded creative people connecting as groups or networks, rather than working in isolation, or individuals collaborating around the world, creates a powerful force that will lead change.

The Behance Network is an on-line portfolio platform for creative professionals in a variety of disciplines, including photography, fashion, graphic design and illustration. Organizations such as AIGA, Adweek and MTV have partnered with The Behance Network to create galleries of creative work and they also have galleries for design education institutions such as Rhode Island School of Design, Art Center College of Design and School of Visual Arts. Scott Belsky, Founder & CEO has been included in Fast Company Magazine’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”.

Behance kicked off their Portfolio Reviews last week at Grind in New York and showcased five creatives. It provided an opportunity to share and receive feedback, with break-out sessions and plenty of wine, beer and networking.

Credits: Top left: Julian Hibbard. Below left: The New Cruelty. Top middle: Navid Barity. Below middle: Barry Orkin. Far right: Matt Carr.

The artists and group discussed where their inspiration came from, the power of storytelling, the challenges of art in the commercial world, copyright and social media, the art of seeing things from different angles, imagining the big picture… among many other interesting talking points. There was real value in sharing and discussing art and creativity, insights, ideas, experiences and challenges with a diverse bunch of interesting people. Real people having real conversation, connecting on creativity.

Networks of creative people have the power to lead change, pursuing a common dream, a bigger picture, should individuals want to join (or create) these communities and inspire the future.